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54% of workers can’t fully disconnect during PTO—3 tips for avoiding a ‘workcation’

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Maintaining a good work/life balance is essential to combating burnout. However, as people gain more professional experience and grow within their companies, setting boundaries, especially during time off, can be very difficult. 

According to a recent report from Glassdoor, 54% of workers in the U.S. say they're unable to stop working while on vacation or don't believe they can fully unplug while on PTO. This is even more evident in older professionals, with 65% of workers aged 45 and older saying they're unable to detach from work during their vacations.

Having PTO is extremely important to professionals, with 63% of employees saying they'll turn down a job offer if it isn't included – but if you spend your PTO answering emails and calls, you aren't really making the most of your time off.

Jonny Edser, managing director of Wildgoose USA, a team building company, says he's dealt with "workcations" before, and setting clear boundaries is the first step to fixing it.

CNBC Make It spoke with Edser to find his tips and tricks for avoiding workcations. Here are three things you can do to make sure you unplug while off the job.

Make hobbies a habit

Prioritizing hobbies is essential to a healthy work/life balance, as they help you stay challenged, relieve stress and boost your morale and confidence. Edser suggests that professionals find an activity they enjoy doing and be intentional in allotting time to practice those hobbies throughout the week.

"I make time for exercise with friends which I find really helpful as it gives me breaks from work, it's sociable and it keeps me fit and healthy. I run two to three times with friends as it is nice to chat and switch off and I exercise on the whole around five times a week," Edser says. "Likewise, I play soccer once or twice a week because again, it allows my brain to properly switch off and concentrate on the game."

Edser also says he goes the extra mile to ensure he has no distractions when he's making time for himself and his hobbies.

"I find that turning off a lot of my notifications in the evening is re-energizing so that I can avoid the constant 'pinging' that can occur, especially in a global business like ours. Usually, I am offline by 6:30 pm."

When you're off, so is your phone

Our phones can be the biggest hindrance to actually enjoying our time off of work. Constant work notifications can tempt you to send that one last email, which turns into another. To avoid this, Edser suggests turning off your phone altogether.

"One of my best tricks is to turn off my phone completely and leave it off for the week and I tell my team that if they urgently need me then they can phone my wife. That is a good way for the team to ask themselves if their call is important!"

Edser shares that he also uses an app called Circle Loop to communicate with clients so they don't have his mobile number. "This means that I can log out of my phone app and I don't get phone calls," he says.

Have 'active holidays'

When many people plan a vacation, the ultimate goal is to relax. Whether it be by the pool, on the beach, or staying in bed, rest is essential to recharging. However, when Edser plans trips, he opts for "active holidays."

"I like to choose active holidays so that I have a chance to switch off. We often go to the French Alps in the summer so that we are walking, biking, running and lake swimming," he says. "Lots of activities that really help to divert attention from the brain and give you another focus. Personally, if I was lying on a beach or a pool then the temptation would be to check my messages. As a business owner, it is difficult to switch off but being active definitely helps."

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